The stage was set for ‘Rubygate’ with tight security, a rally by supporters of Silvio Berlusconi and the world’s media.
But the trial of the Italian prime minister for allegedly paying a teenage nightclub dancer for sex has opened and been immediately adjourned.
Neither Berlusconi nor the woman, known as Ruby, were present at the hearing in Milan. Its swift end followed Tuesday’s parliamentary vote seeking to move the case to a special ministerial tribunal.
That was a symbolic victory for Berlusconi who denies the sex charge and a related charge of abusing his office. Rubygate has now been adjourned until May 31.